BBC to be clearer about wildlife footage on Africa show

Sir David Attenborough Sir David Attenborough with a three-month-old blind black rhino in Kenya

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The new BBC wildlife series Africa will make it clear when animals have been filmed under controlled conditions.

The move comes a year after an episode of Frozen Planet, featuring a polar bear with her cubs, was criticised.

Some shots in that programme, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, were filmed in a Dutch zoo, but many viewers assumed footage came from the Arctic.

The producers of Africa said they felt it "appropriate to be more explicit" about the origins of such sequences.

"We feel it is important to maintain trust and credibility with the audience," series producer James Honeyborne told the Radio Times.

"What's important to us is to be able to share great moments of animal nature and some controlled filming allows us to do that."

The BBC denied misleading Frozen Planet viewers in an episode broadcast on BBC One in November 2011.

It showed polar bear cubs in a den with their mother, with many people assuming the young animals were born and filmed in the Arctic.

But the cubs were actually in a Dutch animal park, as revealed in behind-the-scenes footage on the show's website.

Watch a clip of the polar bear cubs from the Frozen Planet series

"After Frozen Planet, research revealed audiences were interested in the variety of filming techniques but did not want to be misled in commentary," a BBC spokesman said.

"This is why the BBC has decided to flag up a number of controlled sequences within the commentary."

Viewers will be able to go to the website after the programme has been on TV to see how scenes were filmed.

Africa, also narrated by Sir David Attenborough, was filmed over four years.

It explores the whole of the continent and features meerkats being outsmarted by birds, as well as battling giraffes.

Africa begins on BBC One on 2 January.

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